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Designing A Web Site Essay Research

Designing A Web Site Essay, Research Paper Summary Report Introduction The following is a summary report, for module 334IS, Internet Applications, and assignment one. It attempts to explain how the site design and implementation was undertaken.

Designing A Web Site Essay, Research Paper

Summary Report

Introduction

The following is a summary report, for module 334IS, Internet Applications, and assignment one. It attempts to explain how the site design and implementation was undertaken.

As designers, we have to have an idea of who our target audience is and we need to design our site accordingly as well as be aware of the technology they are likely to be using. Designers can’t control what their pages look like all the time, but the sign of a good site is that it will perform well on different platforms and browsers, designers should invest time to ensure this.

Target Audience

Having undertaken a little research into the Governments Think! campaign it became apparent that this site, on road safety issues should aim to target drivers, and road users, as car passengers would also find it useful to view the material contained in the site, such as the rear seat belt issues. It was concluded that the site would have to be fairly universal in its style and layout as the people it would be aimed at could be old, middle aged or young drivers, and maybe even young children as they are often the rear seat passengers, so it would be useful for them to view the issues involved when not wearing a rear seat belt.

Style and Layout of Information

Having decided the target audience the next step was to decide upon the style, and layout of the information we wish to include in the site. As the scenario stated that the website should be able to function as an integral part of the Think! campaign, and as this was a government funded project it was decided that some research needed to be undertaken into exactly what present government sites were like. It was concluded that the site should only carry appropriate, accurate and relevant content. The information should be constructed in a persuasive manner, so the message the site is trying to put across can be powerfully and effectively delivered. The Government is not trying to be objective. The aim of this campaign is to be subjective and persuasive and get the target audience to agree and act on what they are saying, by following the advice and becoming more aware of road safety issues.

Navigation and Links

Firstly I considered the issue of navigation and the use of links within the site. A problem I had was ensuring the site had a consistency of navigation so the viewers can move around the different areas of the site in a trouble free and consistent manner. I tried doing this by links on each page to all the areas of the site. This resulted in clustered, and messy interfaces. I overcame this by using the navigational menu, and I enclosed this in a permanent frame so it would always be present whilst the viewers were still in my site. I also decide that a graphical icon should be used, which can be used by the viewer to return to the homepage of the site at any given time. I also included this in a permanent frame so again it can always be viewed and used. I also tried to avoid dead end pages by including a link to another part of the site within the pages, and the prescence of the menu also help avoid dead end pages.

The inclusion of links was also an issue. I did not want people to use my links and go to other sites before they had viewed my site. For this reason I felt it would be sensible to place all the links to further information on a page after all my main pages, so at least the users will be able to view my site before they arrive at the links and leave my site.

Bandwidth and Download

Next I considered Bandwidth and download problems when designing my site. The problem I encountered was that I wanted a creatively designed web site, which was aesthetically pleasing, but I also wanted to pay attention to download time and ensure that my pages would not take too long to download. What is the point of a great web site if no one actually stays in it long enough to actually view its contents, because of their frustration at the download time? Therefore I had to think hard about this and a compromise had to be struck between creativity and access times. I struck this by using images, which were not too large in size; thus they would download quickly. I also removed all superfluous images from my site, and included what I call the acceptable number of pictures which enhance the aesthetic appeal of my site, whilst maintaining a reasonable download time.

Another issue I was faced with, was the inclusion of the shockwave movie I made for the drink-driving page. I was at first going to have this load up automatically when the drink driving link was clicked, but having thought about this I thought it would take up valuable time for people who only wanted to view the information, and not the movie. I therefore decided to include this as a link, and the user has the option of viewing it, or discarding it.

On initial introduction page also included a skip intro button so the viewer can reach the site quicker if they wish.

Also reducing colour depth of images helps to reduce download time, so this was also undertaken.

Browser Compatability

The next problem I had to consider was browser compatibility. Not everyone who uses the Internet uses the same browser. Web sites will be displayed differently depending on the browser. For example some older browsers do not except JavaScript. I therefore had a problem as my sites navigational menu was coded in JavaScript. As I wanted the site to be accessible by as many people as possible I had to overcome this. I overcame this by including links to all the pages of my site on the main page, so people with these older browsers could also navigate around my site fully. Also tested pages on the two most popular browser (Netscape and IE) to ensure site functioned properly in both these browsers.

Use of HCI/User Interface Concepts

Other factors which were considered and addressed when designing the web site was the choice of colour for the pages. I used many user-interface design and HCI concepts I am familiar with to ensure the colours used were user friendly, and did not cause unnecessary eye strain.

I also paid particular attention to concepts such as closure, feedback, consistency, affordance, simplicity and visibility to ensure the pages I was designing were user friendly.

I can therefore conclude that the site designed has pleasant interfaces, which are intuitive, easy to use and allow both novice, and expert users to effectively use the site. The content of the site is relevant, and the language used is appropriate for the target audience. The site has a good balance between aesthetic appeal, functionality, and download time making it quick and easy to use, causing minimal stress to users.

Dynamic Content

One problem I did have was incorporating some dynamic content into the site through database functionality. I implemented this through a program I have come across called GDIdb pro which links a database with web pages, and the information is easily changed and updated through this link. On the next page the code generated through this program is shown, and it shows how this program uses and reads the database to produce the dynamic content. I also know that databases can be linked through CGI scripts, or as ASP pages. In future projects it would be worthwhile exploring these concepts.

Form Handling

I also had a few problems in determining the best way to have the information inputted by users in the application form become available to me. It was decided to use a company which acts as a form server , who email me the contents of the form.

Script generated by GDIdb pro to link database to web site

############################################################

# *********SCRIPTWIZ GENERATED TEMPLATE SCRIPT FILE*********

#

# This script has been generated with a minimum of HTML,

# so you will probably need to go over the script and add

# HTML to customize the appearance of the web pages

# generated when the script is run. The most likely places

# where you will want to add extra HTML are marked with

# TODO lines.

# See the GDIdb on-line help for more information on the

# features of GDIdb script language, which supports many

# functions not included in this basic ScriptWiz script.

############################################################

&datasource(”Driver={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};DBQ=C:\\My Documents\\addressdb.mdb”)

&defvar(?var1?)

&print(”Generating HTML…”)

&html(”first.html”)

{

# TODO- Add any HTML that you wish to appear above

# the links to the second-level HTML pages here.

&getdata(”SELECT * FROM Table1″)

{

?Area?

# Subroutine &datapage generates the data page HTML

&datapage

}

# TODO- Add any HTML that you wish to appear below

# the links to the second-level HTML pages here.

}

############################################################

# The following subroutine is used to generate the DATA HTML

# pages (The pages linked to the top-level page)

&defsub(”datapage”)

{

&html(”content?rownumber?.html”)

{

# TODO- Add any HTML that you wish to appear above

# the datasource data here.

?Name?

?Organisation?

?Phone \#?

# TODO- Add any HTML that you wish to appear below

# the datasource data here.

# The following code adds Forward/Backward links to page.

&if(?rownumber?>1)

{

&assign(?var1?,?rownumber?-1)

}

&if(?rownumber?

331

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